Saturday, November 24

Lasker game score

In our previous entry we mentioned Dr. Lasker's win against Messers. Morgan and Stadelman in consultation, played at The Franklin Club of Philadelphia on November 22. We are now in possession of the game score, which we give subjoined, along with a few brief comments.

Morgan and Stadelman- Lasker, Philadelphia, November 22, '07

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.b4 Bb6 7.a4 a6 8.0-0 Ne7 9.Be3 c6 10.Qe1 Ng6 11.Nbd2 0-0 12.Ba2 Bc7 13.a5 d5 14.Rd1 Re8 15.Bg5 Be6 16.Nh4 Nf4 17.Bb1 Bg4 18.f3 Bd7 19.Kh1 h6 20.Bxf6 Qxf6 21.g4 Rad8 22.c4 dxc4 23.Nxc4 Be6 24.Ne3 Bb3 25.Rd2 c5 26.Nhg2 cxb4 27.Rb2 Nxd3 28.Bxd3 Rxd3 (Diagram) (Here Herr Fritz, a member of our local club possessed of keen tactical vision, suggests that White should have played 29.Qb1, with a better position than he obtains in the game.) 29.Qxb4 Qe6 (And here the same Herr Fritz proposes the remarkable 29...b5, with the intention of meeting 30.Rxb3 with 30...Bd6, or 30.axb6 en passant with 30...Qxb6 31.Qxb6 Bxb6, with advantage to Black in either case.) 30.Rfb1 Rc8 31.Nf5 Rcd8 32.Ne1 Bd1 33.Nxd3 Bxf3+ 34.Kg1 Rxd3 35.Rc1 Bxg4 36.Rxc7 Bxf5 37.exf5 Rd1+ 38.Kg2 Qd5+ 39.Kf2 Qh1 40.Qxb7 Qf1+ 41.Ke3 (Dr. Lasker now announced mate in 5 moves, as follows: Rd3+ 42.Ke4 Qf3+ 43.Kxe5 Qe3+ 44.Qe4 f6+ 45.Ke6 Qxe4. He will doubtless be pleased to learn that Herr Fritz concurs that this was the quickest and most efficient winning method.) 0-1.

Friday, November 23

Lasker in Philadelphia

Dr. Lasker, the World Champion (or, as Dr. Tarrasch might prefer to call him, the World Match Champion) has been engaged by the Franklin Chess Club of Philadelphia to mark the opening of this year's chess season. Last night, November 22, Dr. Lasker played against Messers. Morgan and Stadelman- the latter the current Franklin club champion- in consultation. Reports by telegraph state that Dr. Lasker won in fine style. We hope soon to have the game score to hand.

Meanwhile, we note some comments by the champion in the September number of Lasker's Chess Magazine regarding a potential world championship match with Dr. Tarrasch. He states:

From the perusal of chess magazines and newspaper chess columns, as well as from personal communications from various sources, it is apparent that the chess world desires a match between Dr. Tarrasch and myself...

It is clear that if two players of equal or nearly equal merit are opposed to each other, each will have supporters and sympathizers. Each group should form a committee to represent its favorite; and the large chess world should acknowledge its interest in the match by collecting a prize fund in the same way as is now done for international tournaments and cable matches...

Let the leading chess associations and clubs unite in forming an international committee that will have the prestige and power and be provided with the means of fulfilling the desires and designs of the chess world as here described.
The idea of an international chess committee, or perhaps federation, seems most promising, and designed to assure the smooth administration of the world's championship. After two decades of squabbles and contentious negotiations between champions, challengers, and potential challengers, how could an international federation possibly do any worse?

Thursday, November 22

Splendid endgame

We present a first-rate endgame from an off-hand game won recently by Mr. J.R. Capablanca against Mr. A. Ettlinger. Young Mr. Capablanca, a native of La Habana, celebrated his nineteenth birthday earlier this month. He possesses a natural talent and attractive style. With some study and application, he may well make a fair name for himself in the chess world.

Black is for choice, but no easy means of making progress is apparent. Mr. Capablanca, however, accomplishes this task brilliantly: 1...Nc4 2.Nxc4 (if 2.Nf1 Rf7 3.Ke1 Rxf1+) 2...dxc4 3.Rxc4 Kd5 4.Rc8 (on 4.Ra4 Ke4 5.Ra3 Rg2 6.Ke1 Rxg3 wins) 4...Ke4 5.Re8+ Kd3 (Black's King assumes a menacing position.) 6.Rxe2 fxe2+ 7.Ke1 (Here Dr. Lasker writes, "At this moment one would suppose that White could secure at least a draw. The actual termination is therefore a great surprise.")

7...Bc7 (Threatening mate.) 8.Bf4 Ba5 (Again with a deadly threat.) 9.Bd2 f4! (A beautiful winning idea.) 10.gxf4 Bd8! White resigns. 0-1. The deadly check on h4 cannot be prevented. Black's play would do credit to a master.

Wednesday, November 21

World (Tournament) Champion

Dr. Tarrasch has written a book on the Championship Tournament held at Ostend in May and June of this year. A copy of that work is now to hand, having arrived yesterday by steamer from Europe. It is a handsome volume, and the good doctor annotates all sixty games played with his usual sharp eye and equally sharp pen.

The Ostend event, as our readers will recall, was a six-man, quadruple-round contest held to crown the "World Tournament Champion", a newly-minted title won by Dr. Tarrasch with the score of 12.5- 7.5, ahead of Schlechter, Marshall, Janowski, Burn, and Tschigorin. The latter pair of masters, the oldest participants in the event, occupied the bottom two places in the score-table, and have perhaps already seen their best days. Indeed, they were invited to play only after the Ostend tournament committee had failed to secure the participation of Dr. Lasker and Maroczy. The absence of these two world-class players is much to be regretted, as is the failure of the committee to have included in the championship tourney any representative of the up-and-coming younger generation, e.g. Rubinstein, Bernstein, or Niemzowitsch, all of whom finished atop the giant 29-man Ostend international masters' tournament, held concurrently with the championship event.

Under these circumstances, the question of whether the chess world will accept Dr. Tarrasch's new Tournament Champion title certainly remains open. For our part, we feel that one world champion is sufficient. Chess, at base, is a struggle between two opponents, and the best player on earth is the man who can defeat anyone else in a one-to-one encounter. Dr. Lasker has won and defended the title in single combat, and can only be relieved of it by the same means. There are rumors afoot concerning a possible championship match next year between Drs. Lasker and Tarrasch. Let us hope that they prove true, and that the chess world will at last witness a contest it has awaited for years. It deserves at last to know with certainly which of these two giants is the stronger.

We present a sprightly win by Dr. Tarrasch from Ostende:

Dr. Tarrasch- Janowski, Ostende 1907, Round 8

1.e4* e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Bb4 5.0-0 0-0 6.d3 d6 7.Bg5 Ne7? (Better, according to Tarrasch, is 7...Bxc3, followed by 8...Qe7, ...Nd8 and ...Ne6.) 8.Nh4 (Even better is 8.Bxf6 immediately, says the doctor, who is never hesitant to criticize his own play.) 8...c6 9.Bc4 Bg4 (9...d5 is to be preferred.) 10.f3 Be6? (Identified by Tarrasch as the losing move, as it leads to a fatal weakening of Black's pawn position.) 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.Bxe6 fxe6 13.f4 Ng6 14.Nxg6 hxg6 15.Qg4 Qe8 16.f5 exf5 17.exf5 Bxc3 18.bxc3 Kg7 19.Rf3 Rh8 20.fxg6 (Diagram) 20...Qe7 (Dr. Tarrasch points out that the plausible 20...Rh6 would lose to 21.Rxf6! Kxf6 22.Rf1+ Kg7 23.Rf7+ Qxf7 [best, as otherwise 24.Qg5 and 25.Qf6 wins] 24.gxf7+ Kxf7 25.Qd7+.) 21.h4 d5 22.Raf1 Raf8 23.h5 Rh6 24.R1f2 Rhh8 25.Qf5 Qd6 26.g4 Qe7 (not 26...Kh6?? 27.g7 Kxg7 28.Qg6 mate!) 27.g5! (Well calculated.) 27...fxg5 28.Qxf8+ Rxf8 29.Rxf8 Qxf8 (if 29...Qd6 30.R2f7+ Kh6 31.Rh7 mate. Or 29...Qc5 30.d4 and wins.) 30.h6+! A witty final touch, typical of Tarrasch. If instead 30.Rxf8? Kxf8 and the pawn endgame would be drawn. But now on 30...Kg8 31.h7+ Kg7 32.Rxf8 wins. Black resigns. 1-0

*We beg the indulgence of our readers for the use of the European, or co-ordinate notation. It is our belief that this system, although admittedly possessing a few minor disadvantages, is on the whole far superior to the descriptive notation now so commonly used in America and Britain. One day in the not-too-distant future, we are quite certain, the European system will become universal.


Welcome to all aficionados of our wonderful game of chess! This year, 1907, has been a most busy one in the chess world, featuring strong tournaments, exciting games, a new generation of rising masters, and- as seems inevitable nowadays- much controversy, especially as regards the world's championship. The months and years to come will undoubtedly prove equally intriguing, and will offer countless items of interest to fill this new forum. We invite all to join us as we move forward into the future of our royal game. Let us begin.